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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-10 Power Rankings

Pac-10 Power Rankings

Well here we are again — the Pacific 10 Conference is wide open. Six teams still have a mathematical chance to win the conference and earn a Rose Bowl bid. Stanford and Oregon State are on the way up after a big weekend, USC and California are on the way down, and Oregon and Arizona stayed the same, setting up what should be a great matchup in two weeks. With Oregon’s loss, the Pac-10 doesn’t have a realistic chance to send a team to the BCS National Title Game, but the nation’s toughest conference already has six bowl-eligible teams.

1. Oregon (7-2, 5-1 Pac-10)   

Last Week: No. 1

Yes, they lost, but Oregon’s body of work over the entire season thus far allows them to stay at the top of our Power Rankings. The loss to Stanford was bad, especially after surrendering 51 points, but it wasn’t necessarily a surprise. Every team has a chance to win in the Pac-10 this year, especially at home, and Oregon was probably a little too cocky after dismantling USC. Still, scoring the most points and surrendering the least in conference play is enough to be the best team.

 

2. Arizona (6-2, 4-1 Pac-10)   

Last Week: No. 2

If the Wildcats had beaten anybody else they would have moved up to No. 1, but Washington State is truly the pits. Regardless, Arizona did exactly what it needed to do — play a complete and dominant game to prepare for its brutal final four games. The Wildcats should win at Cal this weekend since the Bears won’t have running back Jahvid Best, but they need to be very, very careful. With Arizona coming in as the favorite, facing a team that has struggled and just lost its best player, this smells an awful lot like a trap game for the Wildcats.

 

3. Stanford (6-3, 5-2 Pac-10)

Last Week: No. 5

What a win for the Cardinal. Like Arizona, Stanford has its toughest opponents in the second half of its schedule so becoming bowl eligible was a daunting task. Rather than cower, the Cardinal whooped Oregon to reach the postseason for the first time in a long time and shake up both the Pac-10 and national picture. Great win for head coach Jim Harbaugh, and if running back Toby Gerhart isn’t in the Heisman conversation then something needs to be fixed.

 

4. OSU (6-3, 4-2 Pac-10)

Last Week: No. 6

Whether or not Oregon State’s win would have happened if Cal’s Jahvid Best didn’t suffer such a scary injury is a legitimate question. But what can’t be questioned is that Oregon State has quietly snuck back into the Rose Bowl picture. Quarterback Sean Canfield was sharp all game for the Beavers, throwing for 342 yards and two scores. OSU’s defense limited Cal to just 239 yards of total offense.

5. USC (7-2, 4-2 Pac-10)   

Last Week: No. 3

The fact that USC is still ranked in the top-10 nationally shows how flawed the college system is. Basically, a team’s ranking at the end of the season is based largely on where it was ranked before the season, aka the time when it had yet played a single game. I’m not convinced that USC is better than Arizona or Stanford, and I know that they aren’t better than Oregon, yet the Trojans are the highest nationally ranked team in the conference. Barely beating ASU doesn’t help their case, either.

6. California (6-3, 3-3 Pac-10)   

Last Week: No. 4

It’s relieving to hear that all Jahvid Best suffered was a concussion. That was a scary scene in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, and you can’t blame the Bears for not being able to recover after seeing their best player carted off the field with an oxygen mask. Even on a play that left him unconscious, Best showed that he is one of the most athletic and exciting players in the country. Hopefully he can return this season, but after two concussions in two weeks it might not be a bad idea to sit him for the rest of the season. With the NFL likely calling, I just hope we haven’t seen the last of Best in blue and yellow.

 

 

7. ASU (4-5, 2-4 Pac-10)   

Last Week: No. 7

That was a pretty inspired defensive effort the Sun Devils displayed on Saturday, holding USC to just 14 points. If only the offense could get it together. A win would have been huge for ASU, but the coaching staff can’t be too upset with the effort. One thing’s for sure though, I would not want to be a Sun Devil this weekend when they head to Eugene, Ore., to face the suddenly very angry Ducks.

8. UCLA (4-5, 1-5 Pac-10)   

Last Week: No. 9

Don’t look now, but in two weeks the Bruins could very possibly be bowl eligible. Wouldn’t that be something? UCLA started the conference season 0-5 and had no signs of life — especially on offense — but after a gritty win against Washington and upcoming games against Washington State and ASU, the Bruins could very easily salvage their season. Also, the win against Tennessee from earlier this season looks better and better every week.

 

9. Washington (3-6, 2-4 Pac-10)

Last Week: No. 8

Sorry Steve, the magic of this season has run out. It’s really a shame, too. Washington has one of the brightest young coaches in the country and perhaps the most talented quarterback in the land, but have nothing else. Miracle wins against USC and Arizona look like just that now, miracles. UCLA beat Washington the way Washington won its three games earlier this season, through a few lucky plays and bounces. Hopefully, Washington doesn’t throw in the towel from here on out, because it can still reach a bowl.

10. WSU (1-8, 0-6 Pac-10)   

Last Week: No. 10

You have to feel bad for the Cougars. They simply can’t compete with the rest of the conference at any position.

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